Many vie for technology trophy

This year as always there is great interest surrounding the ONS Innovation Award. This interest bears witness to an innovative industry that continues to evolve. The winner, who will be awarded the prize by the Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, on Tuesday morning, 27 August, will be fortunate indeed.

The various products nominated run a wide gamut, from zero-emission fuel cells to new smoke detectors. The jury will be hard pressed to finally pick a worthy winner. Should they choose weather forecasts on demand from Storm Weather Center AS, the hybrid subsea vehicle of Cybernetix SA or Kongsberg Simrad's Hugin 3000?

Must be a milestone

At the last two conferences the winners were associated with subsea and downhole technologies. Both were tied to innovative methods for developing oil and gas extraction from the continental shelf. ABB with Subsis, which has been realised with the project Troll Pilot, and Norsk Hydro with HYSEP, a downhole separator, which unfortunately is yet to be field tested, both represent important milestones in development on the continental shelf.

Of those nominated for this year's conference, very few may be characterised as milestones for the oil industry. If one takes into consideration the actual conference theme, the choice of candidates is rather small.

Norske Shell the favourite

Teknisk Ukeblad's favourite is AS Norske Shell's zero-emission fuel cell. The reason is that the industry itself as well as the authorities is keen on being future-oriented and contributing to sustainable development globally. A fuel cell that can provide a zero-emission energy supply is therefore an important contribution to the future of the energy business. Today about 25 percent of all CO 2 emissions come from activities on the continental shelf. With AS Norske Shell's fuel cell, this can be reduced considerably.

Another candidate is Kongsberg Simrad's Hugin 3000. This vessel makes it possible to map large areas down to a depth of 3,000 metres in a short period of time. Without such a tool it would not be possible for oil companies to develop fields located deeper than 2,000 metres.

BP's Onshore Operations Center, OOC, is also a good candidate. To be able to control and remotely operate oil fields from on land paves the way for completely new manning plans for facilities at sea. A high degree of safety for personnel plus much lower operating costs can give new life to old oil fields.

OOC in Stavanger will significantly change the way BP manages its offshore drilling and completion operations. Utilising visualisation (virtual reality) techniques will help to integrate the team offshore and on land. Other features include network integration and the use of real-time data/WitsML, video conferencing, smart board technology and rig CCTV and radio links.

The OOC will be an integral part of an enhanced team effort focused on efficient well planning and execution, and allows a wide range of expertise to be utilised regardless of the physical location of its holders. It also provides operators with the flexibility to decide where to perform various operational functions, and to design the drilling operations team around that decision.

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